Preparing Tenancy Agreements & Related Documents

Published on 2015-08-07

Tenancy Agreements

Applicants must be given enough time to study tenancy agreements before they sign and commit themselves to the contract, otherwise an agent may be in breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Tenancy agreements should therefore be prepared prior to the start of the tenancy. The correct tenancy agreement should be used according to the circumstances and must be drawn up in deed form if for more than three years.

It is usual to produce two identical copies of the agreement which cannot be altered unless both parties agree to the changes and they are reflected accurately in both copies. It is essential that all the details in the agreement are accurate e.g. names are spelt correctly.

Signatures

All parties to the agreement need to check and sign the document. If the signature is to be witnessed, it cannot be witnessed by any party to the agreement. If someone is signing on behalf of somebody else, evidence of authority must be obtained. For example, the landlord’s agent or legal representative may have power of attorney to sign tenancy agreements on behalf of the landlord.

Date

The dating of agreements executes them and makes them live. The tenancy agreement can be executed before the start of a tenancy but both parties are then bound by it.

Related Documents

Documents Relating to the Agent’s Authority to Act

  • Signed terms of business provide evidence of the agent’s appointment
  • Management detail form provides property details such as location of stopcocks, meters and warranties
  • Paper trail of correspondence relating to instructions to the agent to act and proceed with the transaction at all stages
  • Consents to let from a mortgagee or freeholder may be held by the agent.

Documents Relating to the Letting

  • Guarantors/ additional clauses – the requirement for a guarantor or any additional clauses should be fully documented
  • Landlord payment details to enable rent to be handed over as soon as possible
  • Current gas safety certificate provided to tenants before the start of the tenancy
  • Valid energy performance certificate (EPC) given to the tenant before they commit to the let
  • Tenancy agreement signed by all parties
  • References on all applicants kept on file
  • Cleared funds for both the initial rent and deposit (processed through the banking system)
  • Inventory and schedule of condition prepared as close to the start of the tenancy as possible
  • Tenant information sheet/ pack provides details on who is managing the property, their contact details and what to do out of hours
  • Power of attorney may be applicable to authorise a signatory.

There are other items required to be checked before the tenancy starts:

  • Keys and spare keys
  • Utilities are connected and switched on
  • Property is clean, empty (as required) and ready for occupation
  • Check in by inventory clerk or staff member with tenants at the property.

Inventories, Schedules of Condition and Safety Records

Inventories (documents that list all movable items and fixtures and fittings), schedules of condition (records the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy) and safety records (e.g. gas safety record) must also be obtained before the start of the tenancy.

Categories: Residential Lettings Best Practice